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Thomas Gainsborough

Rustic Courtship


Thomas Gainsborough
Sudbury, England, 1727 – London 1788


Rustic Courtship


About 1758


Oil on canvas


74.6 x 120.3 cm


Gift of the family of David Morrice in memory of their parents, inv. 1915.57


Western Art

Among the greatest of British painters is certainly Gainsborough. In this landscape from his Suffolk period, the pastoral fantasies of the Rococo painter Boucher are converted, with warm tonalities, into a more rustic setting. The artist delights in the study of nature and animals, and the meticulous differentiation of species of trees. This painting is one of many the artist sent from Ipswich, where he resided between 1752 and about 1759, to his London dealer. The picture evidently was judged an important enough work to be printed and copied on china plates. The artist’s earliest emulations of the Dutch landscapes of Ruisdael, then popular in the London market, are modified here by his experience of the more idealized and sweeping views of the Italian landscapist Zuccarelli, who successfully worked in England in the 1750s. The country figures fading into the landscape convey an English sense of the harmony of nature and pastoral simplicity, with a certain languid relaxation.

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